The last part of our trip was also our longest stop. And it wanted to be as well. The last leg was Sussex, and my Cousins.
They are all younger than me, with the youngest being less than two years older then Fin. I grew up looking after these boys on family holidays and visits, and it was so deeply heart-warming to hear the sound of them reading to my boys in bed, or playing with them in the garden.
Fred helping to organise the hose for car washing.
This was the highlight of the trip though! The Selmeston Village show. Oh yes, the Village Show, you know the score. And if you don't, if you are either not affiliated with a village, or have just never taken yourself along to one, then you must. Almost every village in the country has one, and they all follow the same blueprint, more or less. What you really need is the list of entries, that's the best bit. Deciding whether to enter category 15.a) 'single floating fuscia flower in a wine glass', or maybe 23 'assortment of tropical fruit on a plate', or perhaps go all out for 67 'fruit cake (boiled, not banana or carrot)'.
My lovely Aunt Lucy is on the committee, so was very busy with marquee erecting and hamper arrangement, but had also entered all the categories she thought she could reasonably manage. The various bits of veg and flowers were assembled, and she had a small paper plate of the the best of a batch of meringues waiting to go. The only thing that was left to do was the cheese straws, which my youngest cousin Will's girlfriend Beth had said she would make. So, at about 9.30pm on the eve of the show, in someone else's kitchen, Beth and I made some cheese straws. We even managed to stop Will and Tris from eating all of them before they too were put on their little paper plate to be entered into 59 'cheese straws (3 on a plate)'
The tense gathering to hear the raffle called.
And third prize for the cheese straws! Oh I tried so hard not to be bothered, but third prize in a baking category at a village garden show is not something to be sniffed at, believe me. It's a cut throat, dog eat dog kind of a culture, and the W.I are not to be messed with.
Yes, I know that was ages ago, and I should have blogged this sooner, but we have been ever so busy with the start of a new term and the re-start of my classes.
In fact the only real reason that this post is so late is that my computer has decided that uploading photos to Blogger is just soooo last season and to get any pics on here is currently requiring the patience of a Saint and an evening entirely devoid of more important things to do.
And I have neither.
Ok, so road trip
First stop was Bristol, then on to stay with my beautiful sister and her Mum in Gloucestershire.
We took the boys to Bowood House, a large country estate with this brilliant adventure playground within its grounds.
And fairly typically, this is Jack in the safety nets! This drew quite a crowd, especially when Fin had to get in there to rescue him.
Fin doing his best to get Kirsty to be sick
We left Gloucestershire and headed over to my smashing mates new home in Epsom. This was last time I visited them.
So, are Epsom and Ewell Borough Council a) the most naive Council in the UK, or b) the only council in the UK with a sense of humour?
Please, if anyone knows of a better named shopping centre anywhere in the UK, do let me know.
Kite flying on Epsom Downs.
A good dose of tree hugging in Nonsuch Park
Is it the association with ice creams, or the having your photo taken that becomes unacceptable at the age of 12?
Using Epsom as a base we spent a soggy but fantastic day in London with the splendidly dressed Uncle Ben and friends. There is nothing quite like a damp 3 year old for ruining a perfectly good suit!!
We went to the Natural History Museum which was immense. Unfortunately being a wet day in the summer holidays, we were joined by most of London!
It was such a great place for the boys though, and so lovely to spend some time with Ben and his friends, having not seen him since Cornwall.
From here we moved on to Sussex, but that will have to wait until I feel a Saint-like dose of patience coming on!
Our new village has a carnival. Lots of large villages have a carnival, but ours is a big deal.
People start to fill up the car parking fields from mid afternoon, and by the time the carnival starts the whole village is packed.
These folks were ace. They were 'Zimmer Fame' and they did a brilliant and energetic dance routine to 'party rock anthem', using sticks and zimmer frames.
This was the Yeo Valley float.
This was my favourite. Not so humorous or exciting as so many of the others, but it wasn't Mr Flintstone on his dinosaur that made it so brilliant.
It was this woman who was following behind the dinosaur on foot. She walked with a stick and wore a big fur coat and a wig, and had a sign around her neck saying 'Mother-in-law-a-saurus'.
The exhaust from the 'dinosaur' covered her in an almost constant cloud of smog, only improved when the machine started to get away from her and she had to frantically shuffle, stick manically pounding the road, to catch up.
I know it shouldn't have been nearly so funny as it was, but the sight of her scuttling after the smoggy 'dinosaur' was hysterical.
Tasteless to the extreme, these were the Somali Pirates, complete with hostages tied to the mast which they only picked up as they went around. The float itself was just a bit tasteless, but massively improved by this chap...
The H.M. Customs Officer in his little boat who pursued them throughout, coming alongside when road space and crowds allowed.
The Inbetweeners did two laps of the village like this, then on the third lap...
They pulled! We were all so pleased for them!
There were so many floats and so much to see. They were all brilliant and had clearly taken so much work. But my favourite part of the whole thing came later.
The best bit for me, by far was dancing into the night to a samba band ,with half the village in the square. I had Fred strapped to my back,and Jack was dancing with his friends. The atmosphere was fantastic and I could have stayed there until dawn, if the samba band and children hadn't tired eventually.
Half the band are either parents or teachers from Fins school. In this photo we have both the schools Head and their media teacher!
I am a mother, friend, Childbirth Educator, baker, writer, daughter, knitter, kitchen co-ordinator, gardner, reader, poet, singer, dancer, seamstress, walker and seeker. I find excitement in the everyday and am trying to teach my boys to do the same. This blog is a way of keeping in touch, with far away family, with friends, with people we have yet to be in touch with, and perhaps most importantly, with myself.